• Wine has a way of calming those of us who are easily excitable. When the day has been harsh, and you just want to take a break from the madness, wine is the answer.

    When I was a kid (not a baby goat, but a young child,) my friend’s mom told me the doctor prescribed two glasses of red wine a day to help with her nerves, as she had a habit of getting frazzled often. Of course this was not because she had to deal with her four kids (also children) and several neighborhood children (including my ridiculously hyperactive self.)


    I remember this one time we made a bola (three balls attached to ropes used by ‘gauchos,’ otherwise known as cowboys, for tripping cattle) out of tennis balls and shoestrings.

    In order to operate the bola you would hold one ball and let the other two hang. Then the other child would start running away. You start swinging the two spheres not in your hands around your head, and then let go. The rope would hit the back of the running kid’s legs while the spheres would wrap around enter locking and cinching tight. The target would then be unable to move and fall flat on their face. We got it to work several times with only minor injuries. Good times. My friend’s mom was not thrilled at this particular vein of creativity we were expressing.


    Here is where a nice glass of red wine comes into play. One of my favorite California classics is Foxen’s Cabernet Franc


    2010 Cabernet Franc, Tinaquaic Vineyard.

    Winemaker’s Notes:

    Tight aromatic notes of lipstick peppers, cocoa dusted chocolate, chipotle,blueberry and cigar box that are more generous with time.
    The flavors are typical of Tinaquaic Franc, yet perhaps denser due to the extremely low yield. Spice, plum, cedar and cherry all combine in the mouth for a “Christmas fruitcake” effect.
    Drink now (with decanting) to 2022.

    Another time my friends and I made a treasure map. We put an assortment of goodies (candy, firecrackers, snap caps, etc.) in a box and buried it a set number of paces from the persimmon tree. We had to make booby traps to add authenticity to the quest, so we proceeded to set up a swinging log trap, a water bucket with a trip wire, a leg rope cinch trap, and a large pit that we covered (quite thoroughly I might add) with twigs, palm fronds and leaves. The wounds that were inflicted on the unsuspecting neighborhood kid who ran the gauntlet were a bit more extensive, and thus the resulting pell mell that ensued from my friend’s mom was greater as well.


    This was a two glass event. Longoria, another long time favorite would be perfect for a way to relax.



    Longoria Syrah 2009 from Alisos Vineyard is fabulous..


    Winemaker’s notes:


    It has the typical dark, opaque color of Syrah from Alisos Vineyard. The aromas are of boysenberries and currants with hints of black pepper in the background. On the palate the wine is medium bodied with rich flavors of berries and vanilla. The moderate tannins combined with relatively high acidity gives the wine a bright persistence and long finish, which makes this wine an ideal companion with hearty meals such as lamb stew, lamb shanks or other flavorful meat dishes.


    She was great at maintaining even when we jumped off the roof into piles of pillows,


    or took the go cart off jumps on the sidewalk,


    or played laser tag in the middle of the street,


    or found dead animals near the trash or in the gutter or under the house,


    or played hide and seek not to be found for hours,


    or played demolition derby with bicycles,


    or made ourselves a snack with every dish in the kitchen (she introduced me to adding salsa to guacamole and warming tortillas directly on the stove burners for which I am eternally grateful,)


    or fired off homemade pipe bombs..


    yeah that one was most likely a full bottle day.



    Gainey 2009 Riesling is a great buy.


    Winemaker’s notes:

    California wines typically are “all about the fruit,” while their European counterparts tend to be more elegant, are finely structured and “smack of the earth.” Gainey Vineyard’s 2009 Santa Ynez Valley Home Ranch Riesling is the best of both of worlds: blessed in the fruit department, yet it is decidedly Germanic in style. Whole-cluster pressed into stainless-steel tanks and fermented at cold temperatures for a full three months, the wine is vinified to optimize the Riesling variety’s wonderfully perfumed aromas and crisp, fruity flavors.

    The aromas of this lovely wine fully capture the high-toned floral qualities, including jasmine, honeysuckle and rose petal, as well as seductive honeyed peach, apricot and spice scents that endear Riesling to so many wine lovers. On the sleek, beautifully composed palate, concentrated fresh apple, spiced pear and ripe peach flavors lead to a dry, spicy finish with refreshing acidity and minerality that pave the way for the next sip. An ideal aperitif, this “serious” California Riesling also complements sushi and sashimi, lighter fish dishes, roast turkey, spicy Asian cuisines and soft cheeses. It should be enjoyed over the next one to two years.


    We were a rambunctious lot, and required a great deal of monitoring. In the end with a little wine help our guardian made it through, however she now has a bunch of grandchildren to contend to.


    Thankfully they still make good wine.